21 December, 2010

A Carpenter’s Gift

The carpenter stooped from his bench
gathered a nest of curled shavings,
and offered it as a metaphor of craft,
knowing I would understand his gift:
blond birch and butter yellow ash
warmed by the soft brown furls of oak.

If my stock in trade were not words,
I would choose the carpenter’s way,
and saw and sand and carve and turn,
plane and stain and polish and buff.
I would make new and wondrous poems
of hue and tint and shape and grain.

The paths and traces ordained
by time and sun and rain would impose
their rules on me - arrow-shaped
and soaring skyward,
or a blaze of liquid movement,
a voluptuous spread of watered silk.

I would listen to ancient whisperings
of bog-birthed pine, oak, elm and yew,
coaxing twisted logs of haggard wood
from their coma into sensual shapes -
their rounded forms a resurrection,
a connection of past, present and yet to come.

~ ~ Angela Hanley